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As the world falls down...


Helios
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Early December, 74 AD

I ask for so little.
Just fear me. Love me.
Do as I ask, and I shall be your slave.

 

It had been a week since he met the almost-too-sweet Nymphias, who had been lost in the wrong part of Rome. She'd almost been assaulted, but Helios didn't want outsiders to steal jobs from his colleague, so he had stopped the assault... and somehow earned her trust in return. He had also earned a few kisses and her having a crush on him. In fact he had earned his own little and oblivious informant in her! She was quite young, but that was not a problem. Helios lost his own virtue when he was younger than she, and the same went for many of the other prostitutes of the Domus Venus. The problem, if there was one, more had to do with her ignorance. She was so pure, that he almost felt he was mean. But only almost. She was so sweet and pretty and useful, after all.

That meant he had no problem with leading her on, seducing her, making her want to talk to him again and tell him all of the secrets she knew... but probably didn't even know were secrets. Now a week had gone since he met her and he promised to return to wait for her, near her house, at the spot where they said their odd goodbye. 

He had tried to not think too much about her. She was just a girl, even just a slave, like him. She meant nothing and she wasn't even his. And yet she was, kind of, with the way she let him kiss her and the way she seemed willing to do anytihng he wanted her to do. And he could be anything she wanted him to be, in return for that. If she wanted him to be a romantic boyfriend, so be it. As long as she would put her trust in him and tell him her secrets and give him her lips and maybe even her body... for by the gods he had not asked for that, but he wanted to kiss her again and he wanted to touch her. Helios wanted her. And not just for what was in her head. It was a curse!

Still he did it; he returned to the right spot, just around noon, and leaned casually against a wall while waiting. Today he was dressed in a better tunica than last time and he'd visited the thermae this morning to get clean. He had combed his long and golden locks and put half of it up in a ponytail. Calvunus had seen him as he left the brothel and asked whom he was charming, but Helios just laughed and went on his way. No one had to know about this. Now he could only hope the girl would actually show up... 

@Beauty

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Her fellow slaves noticed a change in the girl, her spirits were up and no longer was she crying deep into the night. The main reason was Helios, giving her colour in her otherwise dull and grey life, but there was also news of her sister’s survival. She was a slave just like her, so Rufus had said. It was new that she could not wait to tell Helios.

When a week flew by and its end was approaching, Nymphias spent her day alert, looking impatiently out the windows to see if she could catch Helios’ figure. When forced elsewhere to work within the home, deep within it and where she couldn’t overlook the streets, she hurried along so that she could quickly return to look out the window.

When finally she had time to spare by noon, she changed into her best and placed a sea blue ornament, which she’d bought when she met Clio, onto her hair and dressed well especially for Helios. Slipping out into the world, she carefully looked around her, making sure no one, particularly her masters, didn’t see where she was going. Nervous but excited, she wandered until she caught sight of Helios.

He looked very handsome, just as she remembered. The hair pulled back did accentuate his nicely forged jaw. She hurried over to where he was up against a wall. She couldn’t stop smiling like a fool, fidgeting and heart beating louder than it had the entire week.

“Helios,” she said happily, her musings were becoming a reality. “You look like most handsome man in Rome.” Surely Erea, now Charis apparently, couldn’t disagree. “I also have good news but I tell you when we get to… place. Better to hear when sitting.”

@Atrice

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There she was, the pretty and young Nymphias - he thought briefly about how fitting such a name was, for a girl like her - and she was dressed up nicely and even wore something in her hair. She had made herself nice for him... and he had of course also made himself nice looking for her too, although her emotions were very likely a lot more genuine than his. It didn't matter though, here they were and there she was. He smiled back at her when she approached him and he pushed from the wall to greet her. 

She called him handsome and he chuckled, "In all of Rome? That is a compliment." He said with a grin, looking her over while she spoke of news and he had to hear them while sitting down, "Well we did talk about seeing some temples, didn't we? I'm curious about these news, but if they are good, I am sure I can wait." Helios reached for her hand to pull her a little closer. She was so much shorter than him, so much younger, so much... everything that he was not. 

"I have looked forwards to seeing you." Helios said. He wanted to kiss her, but decided to save it for later, "Tell me how you have been and if your master is treating you well." He said, tugging gently at her hand so that they could walk away from the area where she lived. He had a certain temple in mind to show her, by the Esquiline Hill, one he thought she would like for more than one reason. First though, they had to get there. And on the way, he'd let her tell him all the gossip she liked.

@Beauty

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Nymphias took his hand happily, her cheeks turned red and she felt overwhelmed with joy. She had declared she would try to favour the Roman gods over her own the last time they met but hadn’t a clue of where to go after such an announcement. Nymphias followed him as they walked. Somehow Rome seemed prettier, a lot more brighter when Helios was around.

“I looked forward too, waiting was painful,” she said and it was true. Every day she had been counting the hours, fantasising about how their interactions would go, and the wait felt long, almost unbearable, and then it became even more unbearable when she learned of her sister’s whereabouts. She really wanted to tell him the good news because she believed he’d be happy for her and the two could meet.

“My master treats me well, he want me to watch little baby,” she said, trying to explain her new task and her daily life. It was busy but probably not all that exciting. “It make me busier. He want me to learn how to walk to Garden of Sallust, not to lie, not to gossip and… domina wants to pick my brain because she like to write stories. And I overhear master friend want to marry.”

It couldn’t be gossiping if it was true. Besides, she hoped to go to the wedding, serving her domina. She turned to look up at Helios, just to admire his features but also to then ask him something about himself. “And is your master treat you well?” she said.

@Atrice

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She happily took his hand and smiled at him with rosy cheeks. So sweet. She told him how waiting to see him had been painful and he felt that pang of guilt within again, as if he wasn't doing right by leading her on. But he had his reasons! Helios would have to keep it going now, it was too late to turn back. Casually he suggested she told him a little about her life and her master and she explained how her master made her look after a baby and he wanted her to find her way to the Gardens of Sullust. And he didn't want her to lie or gossip. Although the latter, she was busy with doing right now.


"Your masters friend wants to marry? I wonder if I know any ladies who are looking for husbands... what is his name? He must be of senatorial rank." Helios mused, as if it was nothing but a few thoughts on what she said and not as if he was fishing for anything. Of course Nymphias also asked how his master was treating him.


"It is as it always is. I don't see my master much, mostly my mistress. But I have been where I am for so long now, that they don't need to tell me what to do." Helios explained, not saying anything about what he did and it would still seem as if he told her something... "So I get to go out with you, when I have time. I think you'll like the temple we're going to. I can also show you those gardens, if you like. I know the Gardens of Sullust very well." He added with a smile. It was where he met his old friend Dareios for the first time, and where he met Charis, among other things. Something interesting often happened there. Plus it had plenty of hidden corners for lovers. It might be a very good idea indeed to take her there. 

@Beauty

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Nymphias tried to wrack her mind to remember the name of the man, who was hoping to find a wife. “Lucius… Longinus...,” she said. It was the only few parts she’d remembered from when she’d overheard. It was sweet of Helios to be so invested. It would certainly help the senatore’s process. And if Nymphias mentioned a couple of women’s names to her domina in return, perhaps her domina would be pleased with her and not want to take her hair as a wig.

Nymphias was intrigued, she couldn’t wait for the day, if it came at all, that her masters left her to her own devices but she didn’t want to be in Rome for that long. She wanted to go back to her home before she was too old to journey there. But Nymphias nodded her head excitedly, the temple and gardens would be a welcomed change from what she was used to.

“My days busy now but I find time to see you,” she said, explaining that she would find more time to see him. But she’d have to be smart and sneaky about it, although she hated being dishonest. “I think it is special that you show me temple and gardens, you are first person to show me.” She looked around her, watching as the streets passed them by. “Do you need more clothes? I can sew and then when you wear it, you think of me.”  

@Atrice

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Helios nodded, "Lucius Longinus... I don't think I know him, but I will consider if I know any ladies of his rank." Helios said thoughtfully, although he did not know so many ladies. It was mostly the men who came to him, he had only a few female patrons. But the name was worth remembering, he thought to himself. So her master was friends with Lucius Longinus and he would try and find out who that was too. Any information could be useful at some point and Helios had a good memory. 

Calmly they walked through Rome, it was the warmest part of the day, so most people were relaxing for now, which meant there was plenty of space for them. He spoke of places to show her and she seemed happy to see him, now that she had the time. She said he was the first to show her such places and then wondered if he needed clothes.

"I do have clothes... but if you want to make something special for me, you can. I'd be happy to receive anything from you." Helios said with a fond smile and turned a corner towards the Campus Martius, where there was a temple dedicated to nymphs... something he thought she would like, with the name she had been given here in Rome and how he thought it fit her well. She was petite and delicate and beautiful like he imagined a nymph would be. Luckily it wasn't that far from where she lived, although they did have to walk through some of Rome. After that, he imagined to take her back again and towards the gardens, which were actually in her own part of the city. 

What to talk about on the way though? More things she could tell him... "Have you gained any other friends here in Rome, besides me?" 

@Beauty

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Nymphias was at her happiest, free from toiling in her masters’ domus and running after a very young child with, quite frankly, a lot of energy. Now she could say what she wanted to and do what she wanted to, all with someone she regarded in high esteem. With Helios’ blessing now, she would make him something. Of course, it had to be in Briton fashion. She wanted to see him without the more Roman-appearing garb. She had a rough idea of his measurements, looking at him. It would have been easier if they lived together but she would have to make do going off of memory.

As they turned a corner, Nymphias’ eyes followed the world around her, taking it in curiously. She became lost so easily since arriving in Rome. Everything looked bright, sunny, large, loud and crowded in comparison to where she was brought up in. Nymphias’ attention returned to Helios, who seemed to illuminate beneath the Roman sun.

“I have,” she said cheerfully. The last time she had spoken to Helios, she’d felt terribly alone. She felt a little better now, though still a mess and trying to learn the world around her. “I made friends with girl name Clio.” Nymphias’ hand brushed the sea blue ornament on her golden hair. “I buy this with her and I buy her one because we are friends. I meet Roman domine named Lucius Furius Pontius… Thr…acius.” Nymphias had a crush on him too but, in her mind, she was destined to marry Helios. After all, she and Helios had shared a kiss. It was destiny, dammit! “Azarion, who work at horse race, he is my age… and Rufus, who save my life. But that is the story I want to tell because I found out good news.”

Her free hand moved to stroke his arm gently. “But you are best friend,” she said. And more, she thought.

@Atrice

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He didn't need her to make him any clothes at all. Firstly, he did not need a lot of clothes for his job. Secondly, his patrons often rewarded him beyond what his mistress required as payment for his services, and they would give him jewels and clothes and other things, because he pleased them so well. There was a reason Helios had earned himself one of the larger rooms in the Domus Venus and more or less the ability to walk around freely when he had the time. But she did not need to know all that. She didn't even know yet that he was a prostitute - which was probably for the best, with her. 

As they walked, naturally he would draw out more information from her, and wondered if she made other friends in Rome. She said she had... and firstly she had met some girl named Clio, with whom she'd bought the pretty ornament in her hair. Then she seemed to have met someone wealthy, probably a Senator, judging by the name. Helios didn't know him in person. Then she mentioned two other men, slaves he imagined, Azarion and Rufus, who had saved his life, or so she said. And she wanted to tell him more about him, apparently.

"I hope they didn't also ask to kiss you." Helios said, as if he should be jealous, but there was a friendly tone to his voice, so he wasn't angry. And he would not be jealous, not really, but he could fake that of course. He wanted her to be loyal to him, after all. Nymphias then stroked his arm and said he was her best friend.

"I'm glad you think so. I am very fond of you too." He replied to her and then returned his eyes to the street, "Now we're walking towards the Campus Martius, it's another region of Rome. There are many interesting places here, but I want to show you a temple." He glanced at her, "It has something to do with your Roman name... Nymphias. Do you know what a nymph is?" 

@Beauty

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“No, they didn’t,” she said quickly. Nymphias worried for a moment, she didn’t want Helios getting the wrong idea as he had been so caring and truthful towards her. As a lover or even a wife one day, if she was ever freed, Nymphias wanted to be faithful to the man she loved, it was expected of women. Azarion was very funny and Rufus intelligent, each talented and appealing in their own way, but neither young man were Helios, who had kissed her and therefore meant something more.

And Helios said he was fond of her, which only sealed the deal. Nymphias looked around. The large buildings dwarfed them, the sun beat down and there were crowds. Normally crowds made her nervous but she was with Helios now and was able to appreciate Rome’s beauty better.

“A young bride?” she said cheerfully, cheeks rosy. “Who… also is water and nature spirit?” The temple had to do with her Roman name, which seemed like the most romantic gesture, by far surpassing anything her imagination could create and her eyes impatiently searched for it. “You are so thoughtful and it sound like special place for us to be. It is also perfect place for me to tell you the best news ever. It is about my family.” She figured she could hint at the news, considering they would be nearing the temple soon enough.  

@Atrice

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He was actually pleased when she said the other men she'd met did not kiss her. Still he could pretend to be jealous if she said she met them again. But he didn't want her to have flings with anyone else but him. That would not serve him very well at all. Helios wanted Nymphias to be his to control and if she got a crush on someone else, that would just make it harder and more difficult for everyone involved. So it was best she just stayed faithful to him.

Helios changed the subject, telling her where they were going and she tried to then answer his question about nymphs. She suggested it was both a young bride and a spirit of water and nature... "The word is actually Greek and in Greek, I think am does mean something with a young bride or just a young woman. But we mostly use it about the spirits of nature, of which there are many different ones." Helios explained and smiled at her, "It is not hard to see though, why they chose that name for you. It fits you well in both meanings of the word, I think. My name is also Greek by the way." Just a little thing that would make her feel even more connected to him, he thought. They walked a bit more, before she said he was thoughtful and she then again mentioned the news... and that they concerned her family.

"Now it sounds even more interesting. Did you find any of your relatives, is that it?" Helios asked her curiously, while they were coming closer to the temple. She had mentioned her siblings, a brother and a sister, but he didn't think he knew them so far. And he had not come across anyone bearing the names she mentioned.

@Beauty
 

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She hadn’t a clue that it was Greek, she had thought it was Roman. If someone had told her it was Greek, it had slipped her mind. But this explanation felt special, perhaps because it was escaping from Helios’ lips. He said “we” like he was a part of Rome. He was in a way, just like Nymphias was now. If he thought the name suited her, perhaps he believed she was well-suited to be a bride. Nymphias’ imagination went wild. But she wondered about his name. “What does Helios mean?” said Nymphias, her hand tightened on his and she placed a hand on his arm. She often liked learning the meaning behind names but she wanted to know this one.

As they were nearing the temple, Nymphias reasoned it was a good time to tell him the story. “I was in market and I am an idiot, I don’t know Roman coin,” explained Nymphias, trying to explain how she hadn’t understood Roman coins. “And man named Rufus, hair looks like… colour of blood almost. He help me count and buy things. And then he asked me my real name. I told him and he said he recognise it.” Nymphias had to pause for air. After all, a girl could only talk for so long.

“And then he tell me he knows my sister. She is working for domine… Tertius… Quinticilius Varus,” said Nymphias, grinning widely from ear to ear. “But her name now Charis.” Nymphias’ brows then creased as if confused. “But you tell me she was bitch.” It wasn’t his wording exactly but she’d picked the word up somewhere and it seemed to suit what he’d said about her sister. She hoped slavery hadn’t changed her sister, slavery had changed her too.  

@Atrice

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Helios explained about nymphs to his youthful girlfriend, or whatever she was, as if it was a part of his world too. And maybe it was. He barely remembered Britannia and the part he did remember, he'd rather forget. He grew up here and the Roman gods were his now. Hopefully Nymphias would learn to understand their ways too. She wondered what Helios meant, "Helios is a Greek name for the Sun or the Sun-god. I think they gave me the name because of my golden hair." He explained, it made sense to him at least. Slaves were often given names that had to do with their traits or traits the owners wished they had.


He noticed how Nymphias laid a hand on his arm and then she began telling about the slave Rufus that she met at the market. Rufus most likely had red hair, Helios deemed, and he could apparently count. Good things to know if he were to run into him. But then the girl went on, saying Rufus knew her name and she paused. Helios looked at her, wondering where this was going. And then she was suddenly saying names he knew. Tertius Quinctilius Varus; owner of Teutus, Charis and Hector and father of Antonia. He met them all. The one who made the greatest impact was Charis, of course. Stupid girl. But Nymphias was of a different opinion, saying her sister worked for Tertius and her name was now Charis. 


Well fuck. Charis was Nymphias' sister


Or was it so bad? Maybe it could be useful... as long as Nymphias would stay true and devoted to Helios. He could find a way to use this. Right now however, he realized he'd been quiet for too long and should say something. He had to say something and inhaled a deep breath.


"That is a lot to take in." He said to begin with and stopped walking, so that he could look at Nymphias better, "The Charis I met... has to be your sister. Because the one I met also works for the same Senator. I'm sorry that we did not get along so well." Helios said and sighed, casting his eyes down, as if that made him sad, "I am glad you found your sister... I'm happy for you." He said and looked at her again, met her eyes, "But please don't mention me to her, if you see her. She doesn't like me. And she will be mad at you for spending time with me. I don't want to lose you now. No one has made me feel the way you do, for a long time." At least it was partly true. She did wake something in him. He just couldn't figure out if it was only desire or maybe even more. All he knew was that he could indeed not lose her now. They kissed; they'd come too far. When he came to see her today, he knew he could not turn back again... but he also would not risk breaking the promise he made to Charis. He had been so careful, even when he met Hector and they discussed the whole ordeal with her. He could easily do something to Nymphias, use her to get back at Charis, but he didn't wish to harm her. 

He reached to take both of her hands into his, as he went on, "Please promise me, sweet Ardra, that you will not mention me to your sister." 

@Beauty

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Helios’ name suited him nicely, he looked every bit like a sun god with his attractive mane and bright blue eyes, the colour of the seemingly never-ending sky. And it was indeed a lot to take in, Helios was right. It had been for Nymphias, trying to make sense of the entire thing herself but she was more pleased now, knowing her sister was well. She stopped walking when he did, peering up with confusion and frowned, hurt that her sister and Helios hadn’t gotten along.

When he noted that no one made him feel the way she did, her frown turned into a smile, one she couldn’t even hide if she wanted to. It made her worry, however. He took both her hands in his, she looked down at their interlinked hands before looking up at him.

She nodded her head slowly. “I promise,” she said, though she had hope that one day whatever went on between Helios and Erea would mend. “I don’t want to lose you either or have to choose.” She didn’t want to be separated from her sister again afer they met, let alone never see Helios again. She’d be inconsolable. “But what happen with you and my sister? Why does she not like you? I can make her like you. Maybe if I say nice things, maybe she will change her mind. Maybe she will see what I see.” Nymphias’ face became the colour of blood.

@Atrice

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Honestly he suddenly found himself in a very strange an unexpected situation. First he had met Nymphias and talked to her and decided to make her his little and loyal informant, by seducing her and making her trust him. Then he had realized he actually did want her, for more than just seducing her, but he would still keep her as his informant. Now this came up... Charis was her sister and that was so far not the best news she had brought him. He could lose her. And he didn't want to lose his informant and he didn't want to lose her. But he knew that Charis would do something if she found out. He didn't know what she could do, but according to Hector, she was as cunning and vile as she had seemed last time. Never undestimate a woman just because she's petite. He knew that!

Helios decided to make an attempt; make Nymphias promise to not tell her sister about him. And he made sure to let her know the truth about how she made him feel. She smiled widely at him for that, sweet girl, but would she make the promise? She would and she would not lose him or have to choose. Well if Charis found out, she would have to. And he just bet she would pick her sister over him. Then she was curious about what happened and why Charis didn't like him, but he shook his head at her insisting that she would like him.

"I don't think she will change her mind. I... caused her harm, indirectly, and although I apologized, she refused to forgive me or accept the apologies. She  was so angry! She made me promise to stay away from her master and from her. There is no way she is going to change her mind about me." He said. Helios felt his heart beat in his chest, as if this really mattered to him! "So you have to keep your promise to me and not tell her. Or not see me again." Helios sighed. He knew she wanted to tell him something she was happy about, but now he turned it so serious. How to make her happy again? Oh he knew how...

"The temple is not so far away, should we go there?" And meanwhile he would have to consider how to use this to his advantage. There was of course the idea that she would see Charis and could tell him of her sister... and he could report anything useful to Hector, as he had promised. All while not breaking his promise to Charis. Promises were just everywhere, weren't they?

@Beauty

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The ordeal between her sister and Helios was a confusing one. She felt terrible for him, perhaps because he really had wanted to be friends with her sister. Somehow it seemed like life didn’t want that. Nymphias wanted it though and deep down believed that one day, Helios and Erea would be friends. She wanted to say tell Helios that her sister would just have to learn like Helios because she did but was distracted further by his words and instead nodded her head.

“Yes, we should probably go,” she commented. She began walking forwards, hoping Helios would guide her in the right direction because she felt foreign to Rome, just the same as she had when she arrived in Rome. She didn’t want to be separated from Helios, there was no better man than Helios, but she didn’t want to not tell the truth to her sister but supposed Erea would be hearing about a mystery man. It was probably for the best until life sorted everything out.

Nymphias turned her attention back to Helios, away from the streets. “I wore this for you,” she said out of the blue, a hand pressing against the sea blue ornament in her hair. It was an attempt to change the subject from her sister, even if there was a nagging feeling to ask what exactly happened in detail. “Are you happy in Rome? Do you ever seeing yourself free, not a slave anymore?” She imagined it for herself but doubted it’d be a reality, didn’t stop her from dreaming about it though.

@Atrice

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He had not exactly desired friendship with Charis. Everyone he met were potential informants and whatever they did or whatever they had on their mind, could be useful to him. Helios was a gatherer and keeper and seller of information. And Charis had given him something to sell, that's all she was to him. And now apparently he had made her his enemy, or she had made him hers, which wasn't so good when he was now practically dating Charis' sister. But he could make this work, somehow! As long as Nymphias did not tell Charis whom her sweetheart was.


She said no more for the time being about that subject, and agreed to move on to the temple, which was closer now. He felt the mood between them was tense now. The news had kind of putten a damper on the mood. Something had to be done. Luckily Nymphias did not stay on the topic now, no, she showed him the sea blue ornament in her hair and said she wore it for him. He smiled at her, "And it's beautiful on you." Helios said, "Although you don't need ornaments to be beautiful." Helios added with a soft smile to her, and she asked if he was happy in Rome.


"I'm as happy as I can be, I think. I'm content with life. But I am saving up to buy my freedom and I think I may have enough soon." He explained, "I'm going to speak to my mistress about it as soon as I can. Then I will have a new name and more freedom to see who I want to see. To see you, for example." He added with a wink and looked up to see the temple, "There it is, the temple of the nymphs. Come." He walked a little faster to reach it and walk up the few steps to get inside. There weren't any other people here, just as he'd hoped. They were alone. Helios glanced at Nymphias, wondering what she thought of the Roman temple.

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Helios was content with his life? Nymphias hadn’t spoken to many slaves outwardly how they felt about slavery but if one were to ask Nymphias, she wasn’t very pleased, even if her life, at the moment, wasn’t as terrible as it had been the days and months that followed being separated from her family. Now was the healing moments, slow and painful. But the news of possible freedom made Nymphias smile, though still a little sad on the inside that she’d still be a slave. It didn’t stop her from being happy for Helios.

“A new name?” she said, she was quite curious as to what his name would be. “I won’t call you Helios then?” But the news did make Nymphias happy nonetheless, it was a good thing to hear, especially because they would be able to see each other more.  

Nymphias turned her attention from Helios to in front of her, seeing the beginnings of the temple. It looked prettier than she’d imagine. Their walking sped up and they soon entered it. She could see the familiar infrastructure styles of the Romans and there was some foliage nearby as well, all which glittered attractively beneath the sun. She then beamed up at Helios.

“It is most beautiful place in Rome,” said Nymphias, it was very much to her liking and she smiled widely, becoming giddy and excited even, bouncing slightly as she spoke. “I think maybe I can live inside here forever. Very romantic place. Thank you.” It was gestures such as this that made her feel less trapped  and unhappy in Rome.

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He assumed some slaves might be happy with their lives - most weren't, but they tolerated it, because what other options did they have? Helios however had worked himself up to a better position in his serfdom; sure he was still a slave and a whore, but he had a nice room, most of his patrons were good and then there was the whole business of spying and gaining and trading secrets. So he was content. Not happy, but content. Still though, he was hoping for freedom, something a former friend and fellow prostitute had made him want. Before that, he imagined he would never be free. But after his friendship with Dareios, things had changed. His friend might be gone for good - sold - but he did leave something with Helios.


Nymphias wondered about the new name he might get, but he smiled, "Oh, Helios will still be part of my name. But a freed slave also take part of their owner's name. So mine would be longer, like the Roman's names." He explained to her and then they were finally at the temple. Nymphias and the whole thing with her sister was still on his mind, but he was good at pretending. Nymphias seemed to like the temple, sending him a beaming smile and she called it beautiful and romantic.


"I thought you'd like it." Helios replied and tugged her closer with his hand again, "And do you remember how we hoped to be alone this time..." He looked around, at the moment, it was just them, "I have you all to myself here. Come." There were a few wooden benches along the sides of the inner temple and he went to sit down. Gods he wanted to kiss and touch her and do so many things to her. But gods, Charis would be so upset if Nymphias couldn't keep the secret! She just had to!


On the other hand, he realized, this whole thing could indeed be useful! Nymphias could see her sister... and tell Helios all about that, and her. And he could tell it to Hector. See, this was all good, somehow. Helios just had to make sure that Nymphias would trust him and be loyal to him, which he didn't think should be too hard. She was easy to impress. He looked at sweet and pretty young Nymphias, "We can sit here together, admire the temple... and each other. If you want to sit in my lap, you can."

@Beauty

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She nodded, she did remember that they had hoped to be alone. At least, that way it would be simpler for them to talk freely and be in one another’s presence. If others were around, crowding about, it would ruin what time they had together. What time felt like so little because soon enough she, and she figured Helios too, would be carried away to work. Nymphias’ eyes were glued to the world around her, absolutely captivated by the sight and allowed Helios to guide her to where there was a wooden bench. He sat down but she remained standing but only for a little while until he spoke some more.

Admiring each other? Surely, they were already doing that. She was certainly admiring him. It was better to see him in person than in the memory of her mind. Her cheeks went red and hot as she sat down on his lap, placing her arm carefully around around his neck to keep herself from falling off to the temple floor.

“You are nicest man in Rome,” said Nymphias and it was true. How many nice men were there in Rome? Not many, most were branded as evil by the girl, merely because they shared the same blood as the people who captured her and ruined her family’s life. Those were not Roman were exempt. “You treat me so well… with respect. First time I meet Roman men… it was horrible. And after, everyone think I’m stupid but you treat me nice.” They hadn’t done anything to her physically but they’d done so mentally, they’d tried and threatened, it’d certainly imprinted fear in her mind. She didn’t admit this out loud so often. Acts of gentleness were always much welcomed and with the first man to kiss her, it meant something to her.

She tilted her head. “Am I first girl you bring to this place?” she said, sounding hopeful. She had to have been, she hoped, and she wanted to hear that she was, just so she could feel special to someone.

@Atrice

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While Nymphias thought they'd be aloen to talk freely around each other, Helios had other thoughts entirely, when he was alone with her. She was so sweet and delicate, much like her sister, he now understood... but it was much easier to talk to Nymphias and luckily, she met him before she learned about Charis. So she would hopefully stay truthful and loyal to him now. He wanted her to do that and he wanted to make her stay like that. 


Helios had sat down on a wooden bench in the quiet temple and spoke of how they would admire each other. Nymphias took his offer to sit in his lap, and when she sat there, across his legs with an arm around his neck, he slid his around her waist too, to keep her in place. She was so young, so pretty, so easy to lead astray, he thought. And then she called him the nicest man in Rome. Really? He knew he wasn't, but he would let her believe it. She went on about how he treated her with respect and no other Roman men were like him.


"Why would I not be nice to you and treat you with respect? You're so... special and one of a kind, my sweet one." Helios said and gently brushed her cheek with his free hand. It was easy to feel her warmth through hers and his clothes here, he thought. And then she asked another question.


"You definitely are. It's not like it is a habit of mine... seeing girls the way I'm seeing you. In fact, I don't think I've had a relationship like ours before." Helios confessed and it was true. He never brought another girl here and he never tried to call someone his lover or girlfriend or whatever she was, the way she was to him, "Ardra... I just can't get enough of you." And then he reached towards her to finally place a lingering kiss on her lips. As before, it stirred something in him. He wanted more. So much more, but he had to take it easy so he wouldn't lose her again. He needed her for so many reasons and desire and attraction was just one of them.

@Beauty

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Special and one of a kind, Nymphias gobbled that up. With his hand brushing her cheeks, it only worked to make her heart beat quickly and her lips spread wider into a flattered smile. He said they had a relationship, which then meant they were something more than friends. Nymphias had never been more than friends before with anyone. But she hadn’t lived very long. Hearing she was the only girl he’d brought to this temple solidified what she felt for Helios. It was fast, strong and impassioned but she was quite young and that was to be expected.

As it stood, she would not have it any other way either, simply because it felt good. To her, his words were like honey or music. When his lips came to hers, her eyes closed, accepting it without complaint. She did tense a little, a bodily response from the terrors she’d endured, which, try as she might, she couldn’t get rid of. It happened in crowds, around particular spaces and people. Regardless of it, Helios made her comfortable and feel like she was in safe hands. After all, he’d saved her. He’d saved her in more ways too than he knew.

She pulled away from the kiss, slowly and reluctantly. Her hands played with his hair, which was neatly pulled back. “I can’t get enough too,” she confessed, her words were soft, quiet and a little shy. Her eyes looked into his, captivated and stolen. “When you free… will you free me too?” She said, it was half-serious but half-fantasy as well, dreaming of being whisked away. Her eyes fell to his lips, eager for more but hoped they were destined for one another. She knew she would be heartbroken if ever they were separated.

@Atrice

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After all his words about how special she was, and how he never brought any other girl with him here, it was apparently quite easy to convince her to a kiss. He really could not get enough of her, that part was true too and the kiss almost left him breathless, when their lips parted once more. She had returned it, after all, and he felt how her body tensed up and could only assume it was from the passion, because he didn't know what else it would be. She seemed so pure and fresh to him. Like a drop of dew on a leaf in the morning, before anyone touched it. 


After the kiss broke, he felt her fingers in his hair and she also said she could not get enough of him. And then she toyed with the idea of him freeing her. He ran a hand through her hair and down over her throat and collarbones with a small smile.


"I will see what I can do. But I don't own you, so I can't free you." Helios said, "Right now though, we can pretend we are both free. There's no one here to tell us what to do." He added and reached up to kiss her again, but this time his lips trailed away from hers and travelled down to nip at her jawbone and her throat, "We can do whatever we want." Helios said with his lips on her skin. And by the gods, her skin was warm and perfect to him. Helios wanted to continue... he wanted to kiss her and touch her and undress her, but that would hardly be fit in public. Instead his free hand fell to her thigh, hiking up her dress so he could touch the bare skin of her leg, while his lips finally met hers again. He would have to maintain some self-control here. If he could.

@Beauty

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His lips nipped at her jaw, moving downwards to her throat and she could feel his breath tickle her skin. She let him kiss her and it was a new sensation for her. Her stomach fluttered and she grew warm, not just at her cheeks but all over, as his lips touched her. His hand slid up her thighs from under her clothes and at this point, she turned a little nervous and almost stone-like. She didn’t think herself ready for anything too explicit, merely because she hadn’t done anything like it before, and for whatever reason, seemed to strain and worry.

Feeling his lips against hers again, it took the air out of her and she thought her heart was about to drop with how fast it was beating. It was all very daunting, strange, exciting, and difficult all at once. And while she was convinced that Helios loved her and she loved him, it was all an act of love, she had to push Helios’ hand from her thigh and break the kiss. She took in deep breaths and pondered on what to say exactly about what she just did. She didn’t want him angry with her for ruining what was otherwise a lovely moment. The hand caught her off guard, that was all.

“Sorry,” said Nymphias quietly, voice trailing slightly.

@Atrice

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Sweet and young Nymphias... who knew something, but not everything, about the world. She had been captured and travelled the harsh and hard way from Britannia and here, probably as part of a caravan, just like he did as a child. She had a lot of experience from that trip, he imagined. But in other ways, she was so pure and fresh and he could not help but want her so badly! She allowed him to kiss her and touch her and it was like she grew warmer in his arms and underneath his lips.


Nymphias however seemed to tense up when his hand slid underneath her dress and up her bare skin on her legs and thighs. But he did not stop; he continued kissing her and she returned the kiss at first... but then suddenly she pulled back from the kiss and she pushed his hand away from her thigh. 


His brow furrowed by the gesture, looking up at her, seeming almost confused and then she apologized. He had to think fast and he sighed, then, "No need to be. You're not ready, I... understand." Helios replied and instead his free hand brushed some of her hair over her shoulder, "I apologize too, I just can't help it. I want to cherish you all over and make you feel good." Helios added, looking up at her pretty eyes, "But if you are not ready, I won't touch you."

@Beauty 

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